Monday, February 7, 2011

Habitually Human.

Sleep. What an extraordinary habit. One of our most basic human needs. I have been doing some reading on sleep and I have found out some amazing facts. I also found out that I might have sleep apnea.. eek! I am amazed about how little we know about sleep, as "most of what we know about sleep we've learnt in the past 25 years". And I am amazed at how sleep controls our lives. "The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses." You can tell so much about your life from your sleep patterns and it also determines your health and how you conduct your daily activities. Your brain is also fully active when you sleep but in a completely different way to when you are awake. Scientists have discovered that, "dreams, once thought to occur only during REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It's possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless." I found this interesting as well as these facts about sleep:

  • REM dreams are characterised by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery - obsessively returning to a suspicion you left your mobile phone somewhere, for example.
  • No-one knows for sure if other species dream but some do have sleep cycles similar to humans.
  • Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep.
  • Dreams may not serve any purpose at all but be merely a meaningless byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations - sleep and consciousness.
  • Some studies suggest women need up to an hour's extra sleep a night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men.
  • Diaries from the pre-electric-light-globe Victorian era show adults slept nine to 10 hours a night with periods of rest changing with the seasons in line with sunrise and sunsets.
So, please, sleep well.

All quotes and facts taken from here.




1 comment:

  1. wow, how interesting! I love these facts, thanks for posting! :)


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